Senior standouts set tone for Quaker Valley soccer

Sunday, September 17, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Two of the stars on last year’s boys soccer team at Quaker Valley are back for their senior season.

Defensive specialist Nick Allan, the reigning player of the year in Section 4-2A, and midfielder Matteo Castellini were named section all-stars in 2022.

The 5-foot-9 Allan is third-year starter, second-year captain and two-time all-section player who accounted for 45 goals and 21 assists in the first three seasons of his career.

“We all have high expectations for the team as we do every year,” Allan said. “One thing I know for sure is that we will work hard every day.”

QV’s fourth-year coach J.J. Veshio has been impressed by Allan’s dedication and work ethic. He talked about Allan’s abilities following the 2022 season.

“Nick leads by example and is always one of the hardest workers, pulling the rest of the team up to his high standard,” Veshio said. “A lot has been asked of Nick throughout his high school career, and he has played numerous positions, but has always done so with a positive attitude and a willingness to help the team.

“Nick is a game-changer. He is very relentless in his determination to progress the ball upfield, support his players and generate goal-scoring chances.”

Allan is a three-year starter as a QV wrestler and a three-year letterman as a center fielder on the baseball team.

“Nick is a model for others in how to achieve at a high level,” Veshio said.

Allan, senior midfielder Cameron Diggins and senior forward Bennett Haas are serving as QV captains this season.

“I don’t necessarily have any personal goals,” Allan said. “I’m just trying to be a good leader for the rest of the team.”

Three other returning starters are Kiril Grin, a senior defender, Carter Turk, a junior midfielder, and Andrew Vescio, a junior defender.

Key players in the lineup also include sophomore defenders Sutton Hoehl and Tanner Schultz, junior midfielders Colin Benge and Jack Karwoski, junior goalkeeper Nathan Pribik and sophomore goalkeeper Xander Vescio.

“Our expectations for this season are the same as they are every season — to win a section, WPIAL and PIAA championship,” Veshio said. “We feel we have the tools in place to make those goals happen but must work each day to improve ourselves in order to get there.

“We are returning a good number of players from last season, which will hopefully help us get there.”

The Quakers had the toughest of acts to follow in 2022, as Quaker Valley won PIAA, WPIAL and section titles and finished with a 24-2 record the previous season. Last year, QV finished first in Section 4, advanced to WPIAL semifinals and PIAA first round and ended up 18-5 overall. Also, Veshio repeated as coach of the year in the section.

The Quakers lost in shootouts in both the WPIAL and PIAA tournaments last season.

“We know we should have won but just didn’t produce a complete game,” said Veshio, who racked up a 52-8-1 record in his first three seasons as QV’s field boss.

This year, Quaker Valley started out 0-2 with losses to Wilson and Fleetwood in the East-West Classic.

The Quakers rebounded with consecutive wins against Beaver, 5-0, Avonworth, 3-1, Riverside, 9-0, and Mohawk, 10-0, to improve to 4-0 in the section and 4-2 overall.

“When we went out east to play in the East-West Classic, we lost to two of the best teams in Pennsylvania,” Allan said. “However, I believe we needed those two tough games to start the season.

“So far, we are undefeated in our section. We still have some areas to improve, but we are taking positive steps to reach our goals this season.”

The Quakers held a 27-1 cumulative scoring edge in league play and a 29-6 advantage through six games.

“Even though we struggled in our games during the East-West Classic,” Veshio said, “we have done well so far with two strong scrimmages against Mt. Lebanon and Pine-Richland, as well as starting out 4-0 in our section.”

The lopsided victory against Mohawk began a stretch of four consecutive section games at home for QV, which was trailed by Avonworth (4-1), Beaver (3-1), Hopewell (2-2) and Mohawk (2-3) in the section standings. Ellwood City and Riverside were 0-4.

Quaker Valley held onto the third spot behind South Park and Deer Lakes in the Trib HSSN’s WPIAL boys weekly soccer rankings. Beaver and Shady Side Academy rounded out the top five.

Grin was all smiles Sept. 12 when he led the way against Mohawk with a hat trick. Haas, Castellini, Diggins, Benge, Allan and sophomores Liam Miller (MF) and Isaac Williams (F) all added a goal apiece.


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